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Gustav Franz Wagner[1] (18 July 1911 – 3 October 1980) was an Austrian member of the SS with the rank of Staff sergeant (Oberscharführer).[2][3] Wagner was a starter deputy commander of the Sobibór extermination camp
Sobibór extermination camp
in German-occupied Poland, where more than 200,000 Jews
Jews
were gassed during Operation Reinhard. Due to his brutality, he was known as "The Beast" and "Wolf".[2] Biography[edit] He was born in Vienna, Austria, Wagner joined the Nazi Party in 1931 as member number 443,217. After being arrested for proscribed National Socialist agitation, he fled to Germany, where he joined the SA and later the SS in the late 1930s.[4] In May 1940, Wagner was part of the Action T4
Action T4
euthanasia program at Hartheim with administrative functions.[3] Due to his experience in T4, Wagner was assigned to help establish the Sobibór extermination camp in March 1942. Once the gassing installations were completed, Wagner became deputy commandant of the camp under Commandant Franz Stangl.[4] His official title was quartermaster-sergeant of the camp.[5][6] Wagner was in charge of selecting which prisoners from the newly arrived transports would be used as slave laborers in and outside the camp, and which would be sent to their deaths in the gas chambers.[4][5] When Wagner was on vacation or attending to duties elsewhere, Karl Frenzel
Karl Frenzel
assumed his role within the camp. More than any other officer at Sobibór, Wagner was responsible for the daily interactions with prisoners. Wagner supervised the routine and daily life at Sobibór, and he was one of the most brutal SS officers. Survivors of the camp described him as a cold-blooded sadist.[4] Wagner was known to beat and thrash camp inmates on a regular basis, and to kill Jews
Jews
without reason or restraint. Inmate Moshe Bahir described him:[6]

He was a handsome man, tall and blond — a pure Aryan. In civilian life he was, no doubt, a well-mannered man; at Sobibor
Sobibor
he was a wild beast. His lust to kill knew no bounds... He would snatch babies from their mothers' arms and tear them to pieces in his hands. I saw him beat two men to death with a rifle, because they did not carry out his instructions properly, since they did not understand German. I remember that one night a group of youths aged fifteen or sixteen arrived in the camp. The head of this group was one Abraham. After a long and arduous work day, this young man collapsed on his pallet and fell asleep. Suddenly Wagner came into our barrack, and Abraham did not hear him call to stand up at once before him. Furious, he pulled Abraham naked off his bed and began to beat him all over his body. When Wagner grew weary of the blows, he took out his revolver and killed him on the spot. This atrocious spectacle was carried out before all of us, including Abraham's younger brother.

Erich Bauer
Erich Bauer
would later remark:[7]

I estimate that the number of Jews
Jews
gassed at Sobibor
Sobibor
was about 350,000. In the canteen at Sobibor
Sobibor
I once overheard a conversation between Karl Frenzel, Franz Stangl
Franz Stangl
and Gustav Wagner. They were discussing the number of victims in the extermination camps of Belzec, Treblinka
Treblinka
and Sobibor
Sobibor
and expressed their regret that Sobibor
Sobibor
"came last" in the competition.

Inmate Eda Lichtman wrote that on the Jewish fast day of Yom Kippur, Wagner appeared at roll call, selected some prisoners, gave them bread and forced them to eat it. As the prisoners ate the bread, Wagner laughed loudly, enjoying his joke because he knew that these Jews
Jews
were pious.[6] One of the Sobibór prisoners improvised a song which ironically described camp life (original text with English translation):

Wie lustig ist da unser Leben Man tut uns zu essen geben Wie lustig ist im grünen Wald Wo ich mir aufhalt How fun is our life there, They give us food to eat that's fair, What fun it is in the green wood, Where I am stood.

Wagner enjoyed this song and he forced the prisoners to sing it frequently.[8] After two Jews
Jews
escaped from Sobibór in the spring of 1943, Wagner was put in charge of a squad of soldiers from the Wehrmacht, who laid minefields around the camp so as to prevent further escapes. However, these efforts did not prevent another escape, which took form in the Sobibór revolt. Wagner was not present at the camp on the day of the Sobibór revolt (14 October 1943). The inmates knew of Wagner's absence and believed that it would improve their chances of success. Wagner was considered the strictest in terms of prisoner supervision at the camp. After the successful revolt, Wagner was ordered to aid in closing the camp. He helped to dismantle and remove evidence of the camp by ruthlessly commanding the Jewish prisoners who performed this task. For instance, after the Arbeitsjuden ("worker Jews") had been transported from Treblinka
Treblinka
and had successfully torn down the Sobibór barracks, Wagner killed them.[5] Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
considered Wagner to be "one of the most deserving men of Operation Reinhard" (German: einer der verdientesten Männer der Aktion Reinhard).[3] After Sobibór, Wagner was transferred to Italy, where he participated in the deportation of Jews.[4] After World War II[edit] Gustav Wagner was sentenced to death in absentia, but escaped with Franz Stangl
Franz Stangl
to Brazil. Clergy at the Collegio Teutonico di Santa Maria dell'Anima in Rome assisted Wagner in his flight from justice.[9] Wagner was admitted as a permanent resident on 12 April 1950 and on 000000001950-12-04-00004 December 1950 a Brazilian passport was issued in the name of "Günther Mendel", his new identity.[1] He lived in Brazil
Brazil
undisturbed until he was exposed by Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal
and arrested on 30 May 1978. Extradition
Extradition
requests from Israel, Austria
Austria
and Poland were rejected by Brazil's Attorney General. On 22 June 1979, the Brazilian Supreme Court also rejected a West German extradition request.[5][6] Wagner, in a 1979 BBC
BBC
interview, showed no remorse for his activities in running the camp, remarking:[10]

I had no feelings. ... It just became another job. In the evening we never discussed our work, but just drank and played cards.

In October 1980, Wagner was found with a knife in his chest in São Paulo. According to his attorney, Wagner committed suicide. His date of death was determined to be 3 October 1980.[5][6] References[edit]

^ a b Sobibor
Sobibor
- The Forgotten Revolt ^ a b Klee, Ernst; Dressen, Willi; Riess, Volker, eds. (1991). The "Good Old Days" – The Holocaust
The Holocaust
as Seen by its Perpetrators and Bystanders. (trans. by Deborah Burnstone). Konecky & Konecky. p. 302. ISBN 978-1568521336.  ^ a b c Klee, Ernst (2011). Das Personen Lexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945? (in German). Koblenz: Edition Kramer. p. 649. ISBN 978-398114834-3.  ^ a b c d e Christian Zentner, Friedemann Bedürftig. The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, p. 1,014. Macmillan, New York, 1991. ISBN 0-02-897502-2 ^ a b c d e Sobibor
Sobibor
Interviews: Biographies of SS-men ^ a b c d e Arad, Yitzhak (1987). Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard
Operation Reinhard
Death Camps. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 191–2. ISBN 0-253-21305-3.  ^ Klee, Dressen & Riess 1991, p. 232. ^ Arad 1987, p. 230. ^ Walters, Guy (2010). Hunting Evil. London: Bantam Books. p. 240.  ^ Bower, Tom (19 August 1979). "The Tracking And Freeing Of a Nazis Killer". The Washington Post. (reprinted from a BBC
BBC
television program). 

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Sobibór extermination camp

Camp organizers

Odilo Lotario Globocnik Hermann Julius Höfle Richard Wolfgang Thomalla Erwin Hermann Lambert Karl Steubl Christian Wirth

Commandant

Franz Paul Stangl a Franz Karl Reichleitner b

Deputies

Karl August Wilhelm Frenzel Hermann Michel Johann Niemann Gustav Franz Wagner

Gas chamber executioners

Hermann Erich Bauer Heinz Kurt Bolender

Other officers

Rudolf Beckmann Paul Bredow Herbert Floss Erich Fritz Erhard Fuchs Siegfried Graetschus Lorenz Hackenholt Josef "Sepp" Hirtreiter Jakob Alfred Ittner Erich Gustav Willie Lachmann Willi Mentz Paul Rost Ernst Stengelin Ernst Zierke Heinrich Barbl

Guards

Ukrainians

Ivan Demjanjuk "Trawnikis" c Volksdeutsche

Prominent victims

Helga Deen Anna Dresden-Polak Emanuel Lodewijk Elte Else Feldmann Isidore Goudeket Jakob van Hoddis Han Hollander Gerrit Kleerekoper Pati Kremer Kurt Lilien Juan Luria Messaoud El Mediouni Helena Nordheim Abraham de Oliveira Emanuel Querido Jud Simons Philip Slier Leo Smit Max van Dam Michel Velleman

Resistance Survivors

Survivors

Philip Bialowitz Thomas Blatt Selma Engel-Wijnberg Leon Feldhendler Dov Freiberg Alexander Pechersky Jules Schelvis Joseph Serchuk Stanislaw Szmajzner

Nazi organizations

General Government SS-Totenkopfverbände

Planning Methods

Documents Evidence

Operation Reinhard

Höfle Telegram

Aftermath Memorials

Sobibór trial Sobibór Museum

Related topics

The Holocaust Operation Reinhard Nazi concentration camps Extermination camp

a 28 April to 30 August 1942 b 1 September 1942 to 17 October 1943 c Up to 200

Death camps: Auschwitz-Birkenau Bełżec Chełmno Jasenovac Majdanek Maly Trostenets Sajmište Sobibór Treblinka

v t e

The Holocaust
The Holocaust
in Poland

Main article The Holocaust Related articles by country Belarus Belgium Croatia Denmark Estonia France Latvia Lithuania Norway Russia Ukraine

v t e

Camps, ghettos and operations

Camps

Extermination

Auschwitz-Birkenau Chełmno Majdanek Operation Reinhard
Operation Reinhard
death camps

Bełżec Sobibór Treblinka

Concentration

Kraków-Płaszów Potulice Soldau Stutthof Szebnie Trawniki Warsaw

Mass shootings

AB Action Bronna Góra Erntefest Jedwabne Kielce cemetery Aktion Krakau Lviv pogroms Lwów professors Palmiry Sonderaktion Krakau Tannenberg Tykocin Bydgoszcz Wąsosz Bloody Sunday

Ghettos

List of 277 Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland
Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland
(1939–1942) Będzin Białystok Brest Częstochowa Grodno Kielce Kraków Lwów Łódź Lubartów Lublin Międzyrzec Podlaski Mizocz Nowy Sącz Pińsk Radom Siedlce Sambor Słonim Sosnowiec Stanisławów Tarnopol Wilno Warsaw

Other atrocities

Action T4 Grossaktion Warsaw Human medical experimentation

v t e

Perpetrators, participants, organizations, and collaborators

Major perpetrators

Organizers

Josef Bühler Eichmann Eicke Ludwig Fischer Hans Frank Globocnik Glücks Greiser Himmler Hermann Höfle Fritz Katzmann Wilhelm Koppe Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger Kutschera Erwin Lambert Ernst Lerch Oswald Pohl Reinefarth Scherner Seyss-Inquart Sporrenberg Streckenbach Thomalla Otto Wächter Wisliceny

Camp command

Aumeier Baer Boger Braunsteiner Eberl Eupen Kurt Franz Karl Frenzel Karl Fritzsch Göth Grabner Hartjenstein Hering Höss Hössler Josef Kramer Liebehenschel Mandel Matthes Michel Möckel Mulka Johann Niemann Oberhauser Reichleitner Heinrich Schwarz Stangl Gustav Wagner Christian Wirth

Gas chamber executioners

Erich Bauer Bolender Hackenholt Klehr Hans Koch Herbert Lange Theuer

Physicians

von Bodmann Clauberg Gebhardt Fritz Klein Mengele Horst Schumann Trzebinski Eduard Wirths

Ghetto command

Auerswald Biebow Blösche Bürkl Konrad Palfinger von Sammern-Frankenegg Stroop

Einsatzgruppen

Wolfgang Birkner Blobel Felix Landau Schaper Schöngarth von Woyrsch

Personnel

Camp guards

Juana Bormann Danz Demjanjuk Margot Dreschel Kurt Gerstein Grese Höcker Kaduk Kollmer Muhsfeldt Orlowski Volkenrath

By camp

Sobibór Treblinka

Organizations

Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
(SS) Ordnungspolizei
Ordnungspolizei
(Orpo battalions) WVHA RKFDV VoMi General Government Hotel Polski

Collaboration

Belarusian

Belarusian Auxiliary Police BKA battalions Brigade Siegling Black Cats Central Rada

Jewish

Jewish Ghetto Police Żagiew ("Torch Guard") Group 13 Kapos Judenräte

Russian

Waffen-SS "RONA" Waffen-SS "Russland" Ostlegionen, Bataillone (Cossack Division, Russian "ROA")

Ukrainian

Ukrainian Auxiliary Police SS Galizien Ukrainian Liberation Army Schutzmannschaft
Schutzmannschaft
(Battalion 118, Brigade Siegling, 30. Waffen SS Grenadier Division) Trawnikimänner

Other nationalities

Estonian Auxiliary Police Latvian Auxiliary Police
Latvian Auxiliary Police
(Arajs Kommando) Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalions
Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalions
(Schutzmannschaft, Ypatingasis būrys) Pieter Menten
Pieter Menten
(Nederlandsche SS)

v t e

Resistance: Judenrat, victims, documentation and technical

Organizations

AK AOB Bund GL PKB ŻOB ŻZA

Uprisings

Ghetto uprisings Białystok Częstochowa Sobibór Treblinka Warsaw Ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising

Leaders

Mordechai Anielewicz Icchak Cukierman Mordechai Tenenbaum Marek Edelman Leon Feldhendler Paweł Frenkiel Henryk Iwański Itzhak Katzenelson Michał Klepfisz Miles Lerman Alexander Pechersky Witold Pilecki Frumka Płotnicka Roza Robota Szmul Zygielbojm

Judenrat

Jewish Ghetto Police Adam Czerniaków Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski

Victim lists

Ghettos

Kraków Łódź Lvov (Lwów) Warsaw

Camps

Auschwitz Bełżec Gross-Rosen Izbica Majdanek Sobibór Soldau Stutthof Trawniki Treblinka

Documentation

Nazi sources

Auschwitz Album Frank Memorandum Höcker Album Höfle Telegram Katzmann Report Korherr Report Nisko Plan Posen speeches Special
Special
Prosecution Book-Poland Stroop Report Wannsee Conference

Witness accounts

Graebe affidavit Gerstein Report Vrba–Wetzler report Witold's Report Sonderkommando photographs

Concealment

Sonderaktion 1005

Technical and logistics

Identification in camps Gas chamber Gas van Holocaust train Human medical experimentation Zyklon B

v t e

Aftermath, trials and commemoration

Aftermath

Holocaust survivors Polish population transfers (1944–1946) Bricha Kielce pogrom Anti-Jewish violence, 1944–46 Ministry of Public Security

Trials

West German trials

Frankfurt Auschwitz trials Treblinka
Treblinka
trials

Polish, East German, and Soviet trials

Auschwitz trial
Auschwitz trial
(Poland) Stutthof trials Extraordinary (Soviet) State Commission

Memorials

Museum of the History of Polish Jews Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum Majdanek State Museum Sobibór Museum International Youth Meeting Center in Oświęcim/Auschwitz March of the Living

Righteous Among the Nations

Polish Righteous Among the Nations Rescue of Jews
Jews
by Poles during the Holocaust Garden of the Righteous

v t e

Post-war flight of Axis fugitives

Fugitives

German / Austrian

Ludolf von Alvensleben Klaus Barbie Hermine Braunsteiner Alois Brunner Adolf Eichmann Aribert Heim Walter Kutschmann Johann von Leers Josef Mengele Hermann Michel Erich Priebke Walter Rauff Eduard Roschmann Walter Schreiber Horst Schumann Josef Schwammberger Franz Stangl Gustav Wagner

Croatian

Milivoj Ašner Andrija Artuković Anton Geiser Ante Pavelić Dinko Šakić Vjekoslav Vrančić

Belgian

Pierre Daye Léon Degrelle René Lagrou

Ukrainian

John Demjanjuk Feodor Fedorenko Mykola Lebed

Danish

Søren Kam Carl Værnet

Estonian

Aleksander Laak Karl Linnas

Latvian

Viktors Arājs Herberts Cukurs

Other nationalities

Tscherim Soobzokov (Circassian)

Assistance

Organizations

Ratlines

State involvement

Colonia Dignidad (Chile) Franco (Spain) Perón (Argentina) Videla (Argentina) Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip
(USA) Robert Leiber
Robert Leiber
(Holy See) Banzer (Bolivia) Stroessner (Paraguay)

Other persons

Rodolfo Freude Alois Hudal Charles Lescat Hans-Ulrich Rudel Otto Skorzeny

Hunters

Serge and Beate Klarsfeld Eli Rosenbaum Simon Wiesenthal Efraim Zuroff

Disputed / dubious

Krunoslav Draganović ODESSA Stille Hilfe

See also

List of Most Wanted

.